The principle R2P (Responsibility to Protect) exists 15 years

Today the virtual ministerial meeting on R2P - the Responsibility to Protect - will take place in the margins of the High Level Meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

This ministerial meeting takes place not only on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, but also given the 15th anniversary of the adoption of the principle of R2P and the commitments made in this regard by the UN member states at the 2005 World Summit.

As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Belgium has always endeavored to place the prevention of serious crimes on the Council's agenda over the past 2 years and to include the protection of civilians, in particular the protection of women against sexual violence and the protection of children in armed conflicts, in its resolutions.

R2P has its origins in the 1990s, when, following the genocide in Rwanda and the humanitarian intervention in Kosovo, a debate arose in the UN between supporters of the right to humanitarian intervention versus those who felt that such an intervention was a gross violation of national sovereignty. Finally, at the 2005 World Summit, the principle of the responsibility of states to protect individuals from serious crimes - namely genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing - was adopted unanimously.

Taking stock now, after 15 years, we can say that a great deal of progress has been made worldwide in the prevention of and response to these crimes, but unfortunately there are still many challenges ahead of us.

Today's ministerial meeting is another opportunity for UN member states to reaffirm their commitment to protecting populations from mass atrocities and to identify how the UN can strengthen its capacity to act in this regard. Our country will continue its commitment to keep R2P on the UN agenda, even after its membership of the UNSC.